What are our Ministers up to?

After six years in opposition some of our Ministers have had plenty of time to hone their portfolios, or so you would think. Some of them – those who have been in the public eye – have made an absolute meal of their jobs, aka Hunt, Pyne, Turnbull and Morrison. But what of those not in the public eye? What have they been up to?

I headed over to the Liberal web site to find out. Surely they’ve been working hard. If they have, the Liberal web site, their media releases or their own personal web page would be filled with examples of their tenacious work ethics and hopefully, portfolio related. I honed in on a handful who we haven’t heard much of.

Kevin Andrews: Minister for Social Services

Mr Andrews hasn’t been very busy. Apart from a media release that the Government would deliver a genuine PPL scheme he went out of his way to invite Manningham and Maroondah residents to propose ideas for the local celebration of the Centenary of ANZAC. From his web site we also learn that he has given two interviews and given two talks. What a bulldog.

Bruce Billson: Minister for Small Business

Mr Billson hasn’t been very busy either. On the eve of the election he popped up to promise that an elected Coalition Government would contribute $20,000 to the Frankston City Council to fund the renewal of the roof on the Seaford Community Centre to keep the Junior Library dry and operating. Wow.

Since the election he has paid tribute to the founding fathers of Vegemite for their entrepreneurial spirit; has been encouraged that his vision of a new commemorative site for our service men and women has progressed with Frankston Council endorsement of the proposed Beauty Park/Baxter Street site; has welcomed the report from the Productivity Commission on its study on Regulator Engagement with Small Business; and helped launch the expansion of a state of the art polyurethane manufacturing and technical centre at Carrum Downs. The latter was accompanied by the obligatory comment from one Owen Stam, General Manager of Pacific Urethanes (the company involved with the expansion) who boasted:

“. . . it hadn’t been all smooth sailing for the small business in the current manufacturing environment, but thankfully it had (temporarily) avoided a carbon tax king-hit by a sheer technicality.

When the carbon tax was introduced our costs looked like ballooning.

The planned removal of the carbon tax by the new Federal government enables us to plan for the future with confidence.”

No wonder Bruce was there. With all that excitement about the carbon tax it would have been too hard to keep him away. He has since gone back to sleep. No doubt he’ll be up and about to open something exciting such as a rubber-band factory any week now.

Peter Dutton: Minister for Health and Minister for Sport

Mr Dutton has been flat out. Since the election he announced careers expo, announced that the Coalition’s education programs would help some Queensland schools and has encouraged local residents (presumably in his electorate) to enter the ballot for places at the 2015 Gallipoli Anzac Centenary Commemorations.

What were his portfolios again?

David Johnston: Minister for Defence

According to his web site he hasn’t opened his mouth since a week before the election.

Michael Keenan: Minister for Justice

Mr Keenan’s web site draws a blank. If I want to learn what he has been up to I first have to subscribe by email. Where’s the justice in that?

Oh, he does provide a few links to nasty stuff that Labor had done, however, the last one is dated July 30.

Nigel Scullion: Minister for Indigenous Affairs

At least Mr Scullion has been busy, engaging in more or less two things: talking and taking.Talking about all the good things he is going to do, such as this:

My goal will be to achieve a demonstrable improvement in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the next three years.

And taking, such as this:

The Abbott government has taken funding from a key indigenous education advisory group, citing the “tight fiscal environment” and the need to cut red tape.

The letter from Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said that while he appreciated the expertise of members of the group, the fiscal environment meant the government had to consider any expenditure “very carefully”.

They haven’t really been doing much, have they? And I’m sure that if I picked another handful to investigate I’m sure I’d find similar results: Zilch. They’re sitting around on their bums all day with nothing to do. No wonder Public Servants are doing the same. As I commented here:

I’ve run into dozens of former work colleagues who are still in the public service. I bump into them in cafés and coffee shops. They have nothing to do. They don’t know what they’re meant to do, either. They have no direction nor leadership. Quite simply, they don’t know what’s going on and it’s been like that in their departments for three months.

But how can they have something to do while their Ministers aren’t doing anything either?